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The Best of Berlin

sunny 14 °C

Insane politics, nationalism and mindless populism, under the banner of “ Make Germany Great Again”, led to the virtual destruction of the once great capital of Berlin just 75 years ago. And then, just as the world was attempting to get back to rational order, the Soviets built a mighty wall that divided this once great city and the world. To have straddled this spot after 13th August 1961 would have meant instant death...
It would be nice to believe that insane politicians, rampant nationalism and walls no longer divide us – but...? As we travel the world we meet wonderful people everywhere – people like Sabine who couldn't believe the size of the Wiener Schnitzel served at the restaurant she invited us to in Berlin...
Sabine is a relative of a Canadian friend and she welcomed us royally with an evening tour of the German capital that included the beautifully restored Deutscher Dom cathedral at Gendarmenmarkt...
We are staying in Alexanderplatz, an area that was totally destroyed during WWII, but has risen loftily from the ashes and is now home to many highrise hotels and the Fernsehturm tower...
This 368 metre communications tower was constructed between 1965-69 by the East German Government as a symbol of Communist power and, as intended, it was clearly visible from most places in both East and West Berlin. Berlin suffered massive destruction from the allies and the Soviets during WWII and thanks to the Cold War much of the damage was not repaired until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. One building that survived, though severely damaged, was the iconic Brandenburg Gate...
German history was made here. Built on the site of a former city gate in 1791 it was inspired by Athen's Acroplis and was the grand entrance to a boulevard of Linden trees. The gate was crowned with a statue of Victoria, the goddess of victory, but Napoleon's troops took it as a war prize after beating the Prussians in 1806. The Prussians won it back 8 years later and in 1933 the Nazis used the gate and its symbolism to celebrate Hitler's rise to power. The Soviets blocked the gate as part of the Berlin Wall and it became an emblem of the East/West divide until 1989. Another iconic symbol of the Cold War was Checkpoint Charlie...
Today the border crossing is nothing more than a hut in the middle of the road with some fake Americans in uniform pretending to guard it. Prior to 1989 anyone crossing without a permit was liable to be shot by either side. Berlin is a united city in a united country today but, we are told, all is not quite as rosy as it appears – xenophobia and nationalism are on the rise again. However, we were heartened to see this silent demonstration against worldwide slavery by many young people...
And we were delighted to be given chocolates by Katrina...
Katrina is the sweet fraulein at Berlin's answer to London's Harrod's – KeDeWe, the department store properly called Kaufhaus de Westens...
Once we've finished our chocolates we'll get back to our day job of sightseeing in Berlin.

Posted by Hawkson 08:51 Archived in Germany

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Definitely not a Bliss presentation of the Wiener Schnitzel. Garnishments not a Teutonic feature?
Strange looking motorcycle in last picture--hybrid BMW?

by R and B

Sweet woman with the chocolates and I bet they were delicious! Will you do any clubbing in the trendy places?

by Joyce

Thanks for the reminder of what we have to lose if humans return to mythic pasts and mythic greatness.

by Janet

The Weiner Schnitzel reminds me of the days when steaks were served the size of plates. Memories of Montreal steak houses. Striking city in all ways. Voting day here in Vancouver. We have been bombarded with reminders to vote. Will be an interesting outcome.

by Sue Fitzwilson

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